For the uninitiated, Hitwise is a tool to help marketers measure consumer behavior across multiple devices, covering trends in online search, competitor profiling, market share, and more. The product was initially launched out of Australia in 1997, and was acquired by Experian ten years later.
Connexity is perhaps better known for its former name — Shopzilla Inc., and was once one of the leading price-comparison websites. It was acquired by media company Scripps in 2005, though Scripps subsequently sold Shopzilla to a private equity firm called Symphony Technology Group (STG) in 2011. Shopzilla Inc. rebranded as Connexity last September, a move that signaled a change in direction for the company, away from ecommerce and into technology-based marketing services. The Shopzilla brand still lives on, however, through the price-comparison website that’s still active.
Connexity has acquired three notable companies in recent times — including PriceGrabber, back in June, and Become.com, six months earlier. Part of the big appeal of Hitwise for Connexity was its AudienceView tool, for marketing planning and audience segmentation. Once integrated with Connexity, this could help retailers compare the preferences, demographics, and general online activity of customers who visit brick-and-mortar stores against those who shop online.
The trio of acquisitions helps Connexity not only offer more data around online consumer trends — Hitwise will feed into its existing cost-per-click (CPC) marketplace — it will also help the company expand its global presence and procure new customers.
“Hitwise’s shift from website analytics to audience-based analytics aligns perfectly with our audience activation approach at Connexity, which is focused on delivering highly targeted audiences created from our expansive shopping network,” explained Bill Glass, CEO of Connexity. “The combination of AudienceView’s clickstream and panel-based data with Connexity’s programmatic audience targeting will enable our customers to research, understand, and identify their target audiences and their behaviors, and eventually, in the same interface activate those audiences.”
In a separate deal announced today, Connexity’s parent company, STG, acquired another of Experian’s assets. Simmons was the Experian arm that publishes the National Consumer Study (NCS), a U.S.-based research database. Together, Simmons and Hitwise operated under “Experian Consumer Insights,” and the two businesses will continue for now as a single entity, though Connexity and STG aim to separate the products some time in 2016.
While STG didn’t break down the value of the deal, it did say that the aggregate of both transactions was worth $47 million. This could rise by another $5 million, depending on the future performance of the business.